By J. J. Alvarez
Although American southpaw Regis Prograis longs to avenge his loss to Josh Taylor, he is currently focusing on his upcoming fight against José Zepeda for the vacant WBC 140-pound belt. Prograis and Zepeda will face each other on November 26th at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Prograis (27-1, 23 KOs) was defeated three years ago by Scotsman Josh Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) in a unification duel in the super lightweight category. His immediate objective is to defeat Zepeda (35-2, 27 KOs), who, thanks to a five-fight win streak, is currently ranked 1st with the WBC.
“But for me, first things are first,” said Prograis. “Zepeda is a killer, and I’m a killer. Like I said, Zepeda is a killer in the division. For me, I’m not worried about anybody else right now. These next six, seven weeks, my focus is on Zepeda.”
After his loss to Taylor, 33-year-old Prograis has chained together three consecutive victories, all within the distance. In his most recent bout, on March 19th in Dubai, he applied chloroform in the sixth round to Irishman Tyrone McKenna.
“I’ve always wanted a rematch with Taylor. I definitely want the rematch with Josh Taylor. If that comes up, I’ll take that before anything else,” said Prograis. “But it depends on the money because there are some big opportunities out there.”
Prograis praised Zepeda's latest triumph, when he anesthetized Josué Vargas (20-3, 9 KOs) in October of last year in Madison Square Garden. That was Zepeda’s second defense of the WBC Silver belt.
“What better way to become a two-time champion than to fight Zepeda? My goal is to be a two-time champion at 140. I know how good he is. With his fight against Josué Vargas, I can’t take anything from it because he knocked him out too fast.”
The duel between Zepeda and Prograis takes place after Taylor, the previous champion, relinquished the belt and José Carlos Ramírez (27-1, 17 KOs) gave up his opportunity to fight Zepeda because of a scheduling conflict with his wedding. The WBC ordered that the winner of Zepeda-Prograis must immediately and compulsorily face 29-year-old Ramírez.
In a career spanning 37 professional fights, Zepeda has had two previous opportunities to become world champion, but in neither of them did he come out with his arm raised. On July 11, 2015, Zepeda fought Brit Terry Flanagan, but couldn’t continue past the second round due to a left shoulder dislocation.
Four years later, on February 10, 2019, Zepeda suffered a loss by majority decision against Ramírez, who was defending his WBC belt for the second time, the same title that is now vacant.
Zepeda recognized Prograis’ talent and is looking forward to the matchup, “I’m really excited about this fight finally happening. This is not like other fights. This is the top two in the 140lb. division, fights like this you don’t see in boxing anymore. This is a real fight, and the best part is that the fans are aware of this.”
Article submitted by Jorge Juan Alvarez in Spanish.
Please note any adjustments made were for clarification purposes and any errors in translation were unintentional.